Its fantastic isn’t it? Jonny Rea, Repsol factory bike! The northern Irishman who has constantly punched above his weight on his Ten Kate CBR1000RR Fireblade in World Superbikes finally has his chance in MotoGP. He has had a 1 day test in Brno, and has at least 2 race weekends, at tracks he knows, Misano and Aragon. But what was the basis of these rides? Are his efforts going to be rewards or are they pity and a ride full of false promises?
You can understand Jonny Rea’s thought process, he is on the closest thing to a factory Honda WSBK, and what better grounds to pick a rider on? He has had a brief test in Sepang on a RC212V, but his test on Casey Stoner’s bike this weekend was a whole new game. He will feel that a lack of support in the world superbike series somewhat merits at least an opportunity to show what he can do. Broken promises would be brushed under the carpet with these opportunities, especially in the eyes of Rea if he excels.
Was this a dress rehearsal for next season? Rumors were strife in Brno that Rea could be there to negotiate with Honda regarding the 4th prototype currently in the hands of Mr Gresini, whilst others were even reporting that Rea was there to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on a contract to race for Honda next season. Here is one rider hoping for that to be the outcome! Some in the paddock even saying that it could be annouced as soon as next weekend when they find themselves in Gresini’s home of Misano.
But there is that cynicism in all of us, is he being treated nicely, and tempted with these opportunities to keep him sweet aboard the Honda in WSBK? There is a hint of the Stoner/Ducati situation with Jonny and the Honda. Many have riden alongside Rea, and failed, and not bad riders either. Checa, Neukirchner and Aoyama have all failed to get anywhere near Rea. And whilst he hasn’t had the same degree of success on it that Stoner did on the Ducati, he has still seriously outshone some very good team mates. With a 3rd in the 2009 World Championship behind Spies and Haga some would say this chance is long overdue.
With one test done and in the bag, and Rea starting to take in what is a totally difference machine to his fireblade. Whether it is a reward for 3 years of hard work on a old motorcycle, or a elongated test for next season, and he has in fact signed already for Honda, let’s just enjoy Jonny getting his well deserved chance and hope that some good news follows two great riders by another Brit in MotoGP.
Thoughts and opinions always welcome and highly appreciated, do you think that this is a test, or are Honda playing on his loyalty? Let me know!